If Detroit loses to St. Louis on Sunday, every Lions fan can officially scrap the 2009 season and look forward with miserable anticipation to 2010. The following roster evaluation is a primer for what the Lions have to work with heading into the 2010 campaign.
The foundation players are guys that we absolutely must have back for 2010. These are the guys that we have to rely on to get to the playoffs next year. Yeah, playoffs! I’m a Lions fan, what did you expect?
The stick around guys will probably make an appearance next year. Either because they are under contract and we can’t take the cap hit, or they have shown enough in limited action to prove they might still be a valuabe piece in the omnipresent franchise rebuild.
The guys that won’t be around are guys that just won’t be on the roster in 2010. Bank on it.
Cliff Avril – DE Will be extremely effective once he gets a solid DT next to him.
Gosder Cherilus – T If he can cut the mental flaps, can be a force.
Louis Delmas – S Hard-hitting fixture in the secondary for years to come.
Larry Foote – LB Passionate leader needs to be re-signed for 2010.
Jason Hanson – K Keep him until his leg falls off
Nick Harris – P Same. (Just get rid of Stan Kwan though!)
Calvin Johnson – WR Most prominent Detroit weapon. All-Pro caliber talent.
DeAndre Levy – LB Gem 3rd-rounder is a keeper.
Julian Peterson – LB With a better D-line, Peterson becomes much more active.
Brandon Pettigrew – TE He’ll get over the drops. His second year will be a dramatic improvement.
Dominic Raiola – C Getting long in the tooth but still a smart, fiery player.
Kevin Smith – RB The feature back for the foreseeable future.
Matthew Stafford – QB All the right tools to be an outstanding NFL quarterback.
STICK AROUND, WE COULD USE YOU
Jeff Backus – T Mediocre is a compliment but he plays hard. A high pick could be spent on an LT in 2010.
Aaron Brown – RB Speed, speed, speed. Needs to learn the NFL game.
Landon Cohen – DT / DE Could develop into a brute force on the D-line.
Jordan Dizon – LB Might find a niche as a special teams leader and a 3rd-down ‘backer.
Jerome Felton – FB An okay fullback that can keep developing.
Andre Fluellen – DT / DE Has shown a few flashes, but body of work so far is unimpressive in minimal playing time.
Zach Follet – LB Might develop into a special team wunderkind. Or might get cut next year.
Will Heller – TE Good blocker and has nice hands.
Sammie Hill – DT Project in motion. Schwartz will make Hill into a player.
Jason Hunter – DE Has had a surprisingly solid 2009 campaign.
Will James – CB The Lion sedcondary has been awful, but James has been decent.
Bryant Johnson – WR Will he ever develop into an adequate #2 receiver?
Don Muhlbach – LS Solid niche guy.
Dennis Northcutt – WR Might have a few years left. Can still be dangerous on underneath routes and punt returns.
Stephen Peterman – G Compared to Detroit guards over the past few seasons, he is brilliant.
Manny Ramirez – G Another nice surprise so far in 2009.
Ko Simpson – S Has been injured of late, but he will end up starting before the end of 2009.
Drew Stanton – QB Still can be an effective back-up QB if given the opportunity.
DeWayne White – DE A Tampa 2 guy so his days are numbered. Been hampered by injuries in ’09.
Derrick Williams – WR You have one more year, kid.
PROBABLY GONE NEXT YEAR
Copeland Bryan – DE Injured reserve. Done for 2009.
Vinny Ciurci – LB / FB Just signed. Haven’t seen him play a down in a Lion uniform.
DeMarcus Faggins – CB Fodder for the season. Patch and plug CB.
Casey Fitzsimmons – TE Not next year buddy.
Dylan Gandy – C Nope.
Anthony Henry – DB Doubt he will be back.
Kevin Hobbs – CB Haven’t seen enough. Same scenario as Faggins.
Jon Jansen – T He might be done for good.
Daniel Loper – G Hasn’t lived up to Schwartz’s initial billing. Benched in favor of Man Ram
Marquand Manuel – S Injured.
Turk McBride – DE Eh, might stick around. We’ll see.
Maurice Morris – RB Was an insurance policy for Smith. Probably wants out of Detroit. Bad.
Kalvin Pearson – S Slow safety that can’t cover. Special teams won’t save you, Kwan boy.
Ephraim Salaam – T At the end of his career.
Ernie Sims – LB Trade come draft time. Something is wrong with Sims.
John Standeford – WR Could be stuck in Lion purgatory a la Aveon Cason.
DEFINITELY GONE NEXT YEAR
Philip Buchanon – CB Buchanon and the coaching staff aren’t on the same page.
Daunte Culpepper – QB Definitely gone. The Pittsburgh game proved that.
Grady Jackson – DT Too fat. Too gassed. Lions will take a dominant DT with their 1st pick in 2010.